21 August 2020
In the last update I gave you on our plans for the reopening of our church, I said that a subgroup of Kirk Session members had been set up and tasked with the formulation of detailed proposals for entry into and exit from the church ; the sanitising of the accommodation before and after each use of the building ; seating capacity and arrangements according to the current social distancing regulations.
This group met in the church and made a careful examination of all procedures which would have to be followed for a reopening to be considered safe. The group’s proposals were discussed at our (Zoom) Kirk Session meeting of 13 August and received the unanimous approval of Session. The remainder of our meeting was devoted to the question of when we would reopen the church for worship.
While all Elders were confident of the procedures which can be implemented in the church for sanitising and ensuring proper social distancing etc., it was considered equally important that external factors which are outwith our control must also be taken into account.
Such factors which were considered important included :-
- The current situation in Scotland and the number of infection spikes developing in different areas.
- The onset of the tourist season and the number of foreign visitors.
- The reopening of the local schools.
- The age and vulnerability of many members of our congregation.
Each Elder was given the opportunity to express his or her views on the matter and whilst the universal view of all present was that they wished the church to reopen as soon as it was safe to do so. It was the unanimous decision of Session that reopening be further postponed and that the question would be revisited at the next Kirk Session meeting on 3 September.
Session appreciates that this decision will be a great disappointment to many, but Session has the responsibility and duty to ensure the health and safety of all users of the church.
It was also noted at the meeting that of the 20 Church of Scotland buildings in our Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye, none was opened at present and only Portree had indicated a possible opening before the end of September.
I will obviously keep you all informed of developments and our plans.